Saturday , May 18 2024
Lou Diamond Phillips (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

GalaxyCon Richmond: ‘Stand and Deliver’ Stars Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips

Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe) still love to meet fans of their work, including Stand and Deliver. The film about teacher Jaime Escalante, played by Olmos, and his math students continues to resonate with audiences since its release in 1988.

“That movie has been shown by tens of thousands of teachers for the last 40 years…They do use it as a teacher’s aid in inspiring and motivating students,” Olmos said at GalaxyCon Richmond.

Phillips played Angel Guzman, a student who gives Escalante a hard time in class. Participating in a separate panel, he also appreciated the longevity of Stand and Deliver. Phillips said, “I’m not getting any residuals, I’ll tell you that. But we’re opening up young minds and that’s even more important.”

On Battlestar Galactica and Dexter

After Commander Kirk was killed off in Star Trek, Olmos received an offer to join as a new commander. He turned the role down. However, in the 2000s, Olmos accepted the part of Admiral William Adama in sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica.

Photo of Stand and Deliver star Edward James Olmos holding a microphone
Edward James Olmos (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

He said that until then, “There really had not been a leading character in science fiction film or television that was of Latin descent. [He’s the] first one. Even the last name, Adama, is a Latino name. We never said anything about it, but you know, it was perfect.”

Interestingly, Olmos nearly rejected the part of Professor James Gellar in season six of Dexter. He changed his mind when producers called him back and explained that his character was actually dead. It was an important spoiler to keep secret. The producers told him, “You can direct yourself and you’ve done it a lot. We need you to convince everyone on the set that you’re there.” 

On Storytelling

Like Olmos, Phillips has experience as a director. The younger actor said, “For me, it’s all branches in the same creative tree. I’m a storyteller. I’m a communicator and whatever form that takes, that’s what I’ll go after.”

Phillips branched out into writing novels, too. In 2020, he released his first novel, The Tinderbox: Soldier of Indira. He’s excited about publishing the follow-up novel, The Tinderbox: Underground Movement, this November.

As a director, Phillips is proud of his efforts to expand opportunities for actors across genders. “If there’s a role—I’ll say I don’t care what it’s written as, let me see everybody. I try to level the playing field and choose the best actor. I flipped a few roles from male to female just to give us a little more opportunity.”

Keeping his options open for the future, Phillips also wants to return to theater. He enjoyed a run in Miss Saigon in Fort Worth, Texas, in June 2023. “I haven’t been back on Broadway since I did The King and I back in ’97.”

Visit the GalaxyCon Richmond website for more information.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is Pop Culture Editor for Blogcritics Magazine. She frequently covers TV, film and theater. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi and Brent Spiner. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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